A couple of months ago I had the privilege of treating a premature baby boy on the neonatal ward.
I remember the persistent bleeping of monitors from every direction, the way he laboured over taking each shallow breath and the inpatient band that hung loosely from his spindly ankle. As I stood clutching this bundle weighing little more than a bag of sugar, I was stuck by how fragile and vulnerable life is in its infancy.
In moments like these, the notion that a tiny baby could amount to anything seems inconceivable. And yet, in the Bible we hear of a baby Jesus, born just like any other, whose arrival had been foretold for generations and whose significance was unprecedented from the start.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
If this sounds all a bit too much to digest or too good to be true, some advent advice:
Let Him challenge your assumptions – Just like the wise men who expected Him to be born in a palace, we all have preconceived ideas about who this Jesus is. As we consider the ‘well known’ Christmas story, let’s pray He continues to surprise us and show up in the most unlikely of places.
Prepare Him room – Just like the inn keeper, we lead lives so cluttered and busy that we often deny Jesus the time and place. As we frantically busy ourselves in the lead up to Christmas, let’s give Him the space He deserves, and remember just how far He came to dwell with us.
Surrender your crown – Just like King Herod, we are bent on self-sufficiency and like to maintain the position of authority over our lives. Within all of us, there’s that inherent desire to sit on the throne. And so, as we give presents this year, let’s consider giving Him the ultimate gift, the invitation to rule in our hearts.